PTSD veteran’s bloodbath in California, USA

This 9 November 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

After Massacre in California Bar, Will a Democrat-Controlled House Take Action on Gun Control?

The city of Thousands Oaks, California, is mourning after a former marine opened fire at a country music bar Wednesday night, killing 12 people, mostly students. It was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the Parkland, Florida, school shooting in February.

Police have identified the gunman as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a Marine veteran who had deployed to Afghanistan and had a history of mental health issues, including possible PTSD.

The dead include 27-year-old Telemachus Orfanos, who survived the deadly Las Vegas massacre at a country music festival last year, only to be gunned down Wednesday night.

We speak with Sarah Dachos, a Navy veteran and volunteer with the D.C. chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and a founding member of the Everytown Veterans Advisory Council.

This 9 November 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Why Gun Control Isn’t Enough

Rebel HQ’s Emma Vigeland explains why healthcare and combatting social isolation is just as important as gun control.

By Rafael Azul in the USA:

Ian David Long, the Thousand Oaks, California shooter, likely suffered from PTSD

10 November 2018

On Wednesday night, 28-year-old Ian David Long, a US Marine Corps veteran of the Afghanistan war, shot and killed a dozen people at a dance club in Thousand Oaks, California, some 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles. He then killed himself.

The massacre has horrified masses of people, both in the US and around the world. What could have led this young man to commit such a crime?

The American media has made various attempts, most of them dishonest or superficial, to answer this question. All of them ignore the consequences of decades of militarist violence and neo-colonial war, along with the toxic social atmosphere in the US.

The following were the final words Long posted on his Facebook page shortly before he initiated his shooting spree: “I hope people call me insane … wouldn’t that just be a big ball of irony? Yeah, I’m insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is ‘hopes and prayers’… or ‘keep you in my thoughts’ … every time … and wonder why these keep happening.”

Friends and neighbors interviewed by the media present a contradictory picture of Ian David Long.

Long, described as a frequent patron of the Borderline Bar & Grill, arrived around 11:30 pm. He proceeded to shoot the security guard outside, then entered the bar and grill and shot the young woman at the cashier’s desk. He went on to fire his handgun at the customers inside. It is not known how many bullets were fired. He apparently said nothing during the entire attack.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean described the scene inside the Borderline after the shooting as “horrific” and said there was “blood everywhere.” Police found Long, dead of what Dean believes to be a self-inflicted gunshot. The 28-year-old’s semi-automatic handgun, a modified .45-caliber Glock, was at the scene.

Long served in the Marine Corps from 2008 to 2013 as an infantry machine gunner, and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010-11.

In April 2018, a mental health crisis team from the Ventura County sheriff’s department was called to his mother’s home (also Long’s residence) in the Newbury Park section of Thousand Oaks because Long was acting “irrationally”. At the time, a police mental health specialist suspected that Long suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, after talking to him and judging that the young man represented no threat to himself or others, the crisis team decided not to detain Long for mental health evaluation against his will.

A neighbor of Long and his mother’s described the scene. “He was raving hell in the house, you know, kicking holes in the walls and stuff and one of the neighbors was concerned and called the police”, Richard Berge, who lived one block away from the home, told Reuters. “They couldn’t get him to come out, so it was like a standoff for four or five hours.”

Dean added that police believe that Ian David Long suffered from PTSD as a result of the experiences he underwent during his four-and-a-half-year stint in the Marine Corps and in Afghanistan specifically.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD is triggered by exposure to traumatic events in which the person “experienced, witnessed, or was confronted by death or serious injury to self or others and responded with intense fear, helplessness or horror.”

PTSD sufferers have described feelings of grief, depression, anxiety and anger. Many have flashbacks and nightmares and turn to drug abuse.

Very high rates of PTSD and anger have been seen in US military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Matthew Tull at Verywellmind recently pointed to a study by a “group of researchers [who] looked at rates of PTSD and anger problems among a group of 117 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans.

“Similar to other reports, the veterans they studied exhibited high rates of PTSD. In fact, about 40 percent had PTSD and an additional 18 percent almost had a PTSD diagnosis, or what is often referred to as subthreshold PTSD (they were struggling with some severe symptoms of PTSD but not quite enough symptoms to meet criteria for a full PTSD diagnosis).”

Tull went on, “In addition, over half of the veterans with PTSD indicated that they had been aggressive in the past four months, such as threatening physical violence, destroying property and having a physical fight with someone. Veterans with almost a PTSD diagnosis reported just about the same amount of aggressive behavior as the veterans with PTSD.”

As the number of veterans with PTSD and other forms of mental illness was increasing, a 2014 report from the Institute of Medicine (IoM) reported that treatments were inadequate, “ad hoc, incremental and crisis-driven.” There was minimal planning in developing “long-range” approaches, the IoM committee argued, lengthy delays in providing treatment for those who needed therapy (only 53 percent received the minimum therapy of eight sessions in 14 weeks) and the interruption and delay of individual counseling sessions.

Thomas Burke, a pastor who served with Long in Afghanistan, said the latter’s battalion had arrived during intense fighting in Helmand province, a center of Taliban resistance.

Burke told CNN: “We train a generation to be as violent as possible, then we expect them to come home and be OK. It’s not mental illness. It’s that we’re doing something to a generation, and we’re not responding to the needs they have.”

In addition to confronting Taliban forces in Helmand, US and allied troops terrorized the Afghan population. In March 2017, in a military online forum, Ian Long described some of his military experience using the nickname “doorkicker03”, alluding to the repression of civilians.

The news that Long had been the shooter, and that he had posted his dark Facebook message greatly shocked one his friends, who spoke to CNN; “That does not sound like Ian to me at all. I don’t know what was going through his head when he wrote this. It must have been terrible”, he declared. “I don’t know what the hell happened. He was always happy. I never thought this would ever come from him. We used to go snowboarding all the time. He was a good guy”, said another.

“He wasn’t unhinged, he wasn’t violent. He was a sweet guy who served his country and was using his GI Bill to go to college and get a degree to help more people”, another friend declared. “Out of our group of friends I thought the highest of him.”

Curtis Kellogg, who served with Long in the Marines, told CNN that while Long had a sense of humor, “like most Marines who have seen combat it could get dark at times, just like all of us.”

The official response to the Thousand Oaks massacre is a combination of banal, formulaic expressions of sorrow and bewilderment. What do such people know about the consequences of their wars and invasions?

Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles FBI office, Reuters commented, “said it was too early to speculate on the shooter’s motives but that he appeared to have acted alone. ‘We will be sure to paint a picture of the state of mind of the subject and do our best to identify a motivation,’ Delacourt said, adding that the FBI would investigate any possible ‘radicalization’ or links to militant groups.”

Ventura County Sheriff Dean told the media, “Obviously, he had something going on in his head that would cause him to do something like this.”

Ian Long’s precise mental state November 7 will perhaps never be known. That night’s cryptic and troubled Facebook entry provides a clue. Hundreds of thousands of youth have been called on to participate in an unending series of wars and occupations (“kicking in” doors); tortured by their experiences in many cases and left with no opportunities, no real help for their mental and physical injuries, nothing more than “hopes and prayers”. That condition, working on the most psychologically vulnerable and susceptible, almost inevitably produces tragedies like the Thousand Oaks mass shooting.

California massacre by PTSD Afghan war veteran

This 8 November 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

California mass shooting: Suspect identified as Ian Long | Live updates from Thousand Oaks, CA

A gunman opened fire overnight in a Southern California bar and country music venue. The Ventura County sheriff said the bar was crowded with more than 100 people, many of them college students.

The gunman, identified by police as Ian David Long, 28, killed 12 people, including a sheriff’s sergeant who responded to the gunfire. Police later found the shooter dead inside the bar, possibly from a self-inflicted wound.

The rampage took place at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The British government sent Salman Abedi as a child soldier to the NATO war on Libya. That bloody war destroyed Abedi’s teenage mind. It made him a mass murderer, committing the horrible crime of the bloodbath at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

Now, after many similar atrocities, yet another similar atrocity has happened in the USA. This time not the bloody Libya war. Also not the bloody Iraq war. This time it is the bloody war in Afghanistan. The Pentagon sends United States soldiers to wars all over the world. Don’t think that the victims of these bloody wars will all be people, mainly civilians, in countries far away from the USA. These wars come home.

From ABC in the USA:

What we know about Thousand Oaks shooting suspect, Ian David Long


Ian David Long, 28, has been identified as the suspected gunman in the mass shooting at a Thousand Oaks nightclub.

The shooting happened late Wednesday inside Borderline Bar & Grill. At least a dozen people were killed, including a sheriff’s sergeant, Ron Helus. None of the other victims have been identified. …

Investigators knocked on doors of surrounding residents to find out what they may know about Long. One neighbor who knew Long said he was a veteran who suffered from PTSD. She said, “I don’t know what he was doing with a gun.”

Others said Long lived at the home with his mother. Richard Berge, a friend and neighbor [of] Long’s mother, said Long’s mother was worried about her son.

He wouldn’t get help“, Berge said.

[Sheriff] Dean said Long was in the United States Marine Corps. The USMC released Long’s service record, detailing that he served from 2008 to 2013, deploying to Afghanistan from Nov. 16, 2010 to June 14, 2011. His ranking was a corporal as a machine gunner, the USMC said.

Long had several interactions with the sheriff’s department over the years, Dean said. These incidents include a traffic collision, a traffic citation as well as an instance in which Long was a victim of battery at a local bar in 2015.

Dean also described an incident in April, when deputies were called to his Newbury Park home regarding a disturbance.

“He was somewhat irate, acting a little irrationally. They called out our crisis intervention team, our mental health specialist”, Dean said.

Those specialists ended up clearing him because they “didn’t feel he was qualified to be taken under 5150”, Dean said, referencing the California law code for the temporary involuntary psychiatric commitment of individuals who present a danger to themselves or others due to signs of mental illness.

His gun, which was a .45-caliber handgun, was purchased legally, Dean said.

Like so many other weapons used in massacres.

Neo-nazis and others on the Internet speculated that the Thousands Oaks bloodbath was ‘Muslim terrorism’. And/or ‘Jewish terrorism’. But no, Long, unlike Abedi, was not a Muslim, but a white man, presumably Christian.

United States PTSD Afghanistan veteran murders three women

This 9 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

4 dead in Yountville Veterans Home hostage situation

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Veteran shoots healthcare workers to death in California veterans’ home

In [Yountville town in] California, a former soldier has shot three people in a veterans’ home. The perpetrator, a 36-year-old decorated veteran who had been stationed in Afghanistan for a year, then committed suicide. …

Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are treated in the home. It is one of the largest centers for veterans in the US. There were about a thousand people, varying from veterans of the recent war in Iraq to former soldiers who fought in the Second World War.

The perpetrator was treated at the center, along with other veterans who have been in Iraq and Afghanistan. A few days before he took people hostage, the man is said to have been expelled from the program, why is not known.

All three people whom this veteran, made mentally ill by the Afghan war, killed were women. Apparently, though he was mentally ill, he did have access to a lethal firearm.

Pentagon wars come home to New York City

This video from the USA says about itself:

Many Vietnam veterans still struggle with PTSD

22 July 2015

New research shows more than a quarter-million Vietnam veterans are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, 40 years after the war ended. Kenneth Craig reports from New York.

By Eric London in the USA:

Veteran drives through crowd in Times Square: The war comes home

20 May 2017

On Thursday, a 26-year-old military veteran named Richard Rojas drove his Honda Accord through a crowded sidewalk in New York City’s Times Square, killing an 18-year-old Michigan woman and wounding 22. Rojas says he was on Phenycylidine (PCP) and that he intended to kill passers-by.

After crashing through the crowd, Rojas ran around screaming and waving his arms. He evidently told police that god told him to commit this horrible act. He had previously reported hearing voices in his head. He allegedly told police, “You were supposed to shoot me!”

At a press conference following the incident, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced, “There is no indication that this was an act of terrorism.”

By this, de Blasio meant that Rojas had no association with an organized terrorist group. But, in a larger sense, this tragedy is the product of the terror wreaked by US imperialism across the world, poisoning social relations domestically and breaking the minds of countless young enlisted people.

In an interview with the New York Times, Rojas’ childhood friend, Hansel Guerrero, explained that Rojas joined the Navy as “a journey out of the New York life.” Guerrero and Rojas lived in the same apartment building on Walton Avenue in the working-class neighborhood of Mount Eden, in New York’s Bronx borough.

Guerrero told the Times: “People go and they serve their country and they come back crazy and nobody helps them.”

Rojas, whose mother is Dominican, worked in auto shops and dreamed of graduating from college. He joined the Navy in 2011, working as an electrician’s mate until he was dishonorably discharged in 2014. It is not clear whether he served in a combat zone. While stationed at a Naval base in Jacksonville, Florida, Rojas was arrested in 2012 for threatening violence against police. In 2013, the Navy locked him up for two months in a military jail, though it has not been reported why.

Rojas’ friends explained that he wasn’t the same upon returning from the Navy. On April 15, 2015, he was convicted for driving while intoxicated.

Reuters spoke with another of Rojas’ friends, Harrison Ramos: “Rojas returned from his Navy service with a drinking problem and had posted ‘crazy stuff’ on social media,” the news service reported.

Ramos told Reuters: “Don’t make him out to be a terrorist or something. He served his country and when he came back, nobody helped him. He went through a real rough time. That’s my friend, and it hurts.”

“He finally came home, and it was hard for him to find a job,” Ramos added. “He was having a lot of bad nightmares. He was talking crazy. He was acting strange.”

The Times reported: “His mind was clouded with conspiracy theories. His dreams of opening his own clothing business had wilted. He lashed out at friends who challenged him; some thought his grasp of reality slipped and that he needed psychiatric help.

“During a string of arrests in recent years, Mr. Rojas once threatened to kill police officers, and last week accused a notary of trying to steal his identity and grabbed his neck, the authorities said.”

The sentiments expressed by Rojas’ friends are commonplace in a country where hundreds of thousands of veterans have been broken by the weight of a quarter century of war. There are many young people in the US who know a veteran who “came back crazy” with “nobody to help them,” as Rojas’ friends put it. Some counties have even set up special court programs for veterans convicted of crimes.

Last month, a 23-year-old Army veteran in North Carolina strapped her service dog to a tree and shot it five times before posting a video of the execution to Facebook. The dog was intended to help her with her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the episode calls to mind the first line of Phil Klay’s Redeployment, a series of short stories about returning veterans and the ongoing wars: “We shot dogs.”

On May 16, 24-year-old Edwin Fuentes was shot to death by police following a stand-off in Tustin, California. Fuentes was an Afghanistan veteran who suffered from PTSD. His neighbor, another veteran, told the OC Register that Fuentes “was having problems and he wanted other vets to talk to.”

A 2016 study from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) revealed that 20 veterans kill themselves every day—over 116,000 since 2001, roughly the size of the population of Michigan’s state capital, Lansing.

A survey of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans also revealed that a majority of veterans have contemplated suicide. A 2017 VA report found that female veterans are two to five times more likely to kill themselves than civilian women, in part due to the prevalence of rape and sexual abuse within the military.

The reactionary climate of nationalism and brutality engendered by the US military has transformed the social composition of the country.

The US Defense Department is the country’s largest employer, with 3.2 million employees, military and civilian. As the strike force of corporate America, the military exerts an immense power over all of the “official” institutions of American capitalism.

It’s reactionary culture, of idealizing violence and justifying its crimes in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan through hyper-nationalism, permeates into broader sections of society, altering not only the personal lives of millions of veterans, but also the social psychology of the country as a whole. No American is unfamiliar with the nauseating displays of militarism in everyday life: the bomber fly-overs before sporting events, Marine Corps recruiters in high schools, the use of tanks and assault rifles by local police.

In the words of Shakespeare’s Edward IV: “They shall have wars and pay for their presumption.” The personal breakdown of individuals like Richard Rojas exemplifies the breakdown of American society under the weight of US imperialism and capitalism.

Canadian Afghan war veteran kills family, himself

This video from Canada says about itself:

‘Lost my mom and my niece were gone too’

5 January 2017

Lionel Desmond’s sister Cassandra describes how she found out members of her family had been killed.

Read more here.

Not only does the bloody Iraq war come home to the USA as bloodbaths at Fort Lauderdale airport and elsewhere.

The bloody war in Afghanistan comes home to Canada as well.

By Laurent Lafrance in Canada:

Canadian Afghan war veteran commits suicide after killing family

11 January 2017

A tragedy that took place at the beginning of January in Upper Big Tracadie, a small and isolated town in northeastern Nova Scotia, has shed light on the consequences of the increasingly aggressive domestic and foreign policies of the Canadian ruling elite.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) confirmed last Friday that 33-year-old Afghan war veteran Lionel Desmond shot himself after killing his mother, Brenda, 52; his wife, Shanna Desmond, 31; and their 10-year-old daughter, Aliyah. The murder-suicide has left the community, located some 200 miles from Halifax, in shock.

Relatives confirmed that Desmond suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after he came back from Afghanistan, where he was deployed from January to August of 2007 as an infantry soldier in the Royal Canadian Regiment. He joined the armed forces in 2004 and was released 18 months ago.

This latest tragedy is an indictment of the entire ruling class and military apparatus that have used young men as cannon fodder to advance Canada’s imperialist interests around the globe. When these men come back home, usually traumatized by the cruelty of war and the atrocities inflicted on the civilian population—often with their own participation—they are left with inadequate health care and other vital services due to decades of budget cutting by all of the establishment political parties.

Desmond wrote on his Facebook page last month that he had hit his head on a light armoured vehicle and suffered back spasms after falling off a wall while in the military. He said he had been told he had post-concussion disorder as well as PTSD. Desmond’s sister-in-law explained that he recently decided to stay at his grandparents’ house because he was “getting so out of control,” and that he was verbally aggressive with his wife.

Rev. Elaine Walcott, another relative, said, “Lionel loved his mother, his family, and he was a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder and the memories he didn’t want to have.” Lionel’s sister, Cassandra Desmond, told CBC News: “My brother suffered in silence for 10 years fighting demons that we don’t even know, seeing things, replaying events in his head…”

According to Shanna Desmond’s aunt, Catherine Hartline, when Lionel Desmond returned from Afghanistan he sought treatment in Montreal but did not get the adequate assistance. “The poor guy needed help and they sent him up to Montreal and put a little Band-Aid on him and sent him back.”

It was also revealed that Desmond tried to check himself into a mental health facility at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish the day before the tragedy, but he was apparently told there were no beds and that the hospital did not have his files.

This revelation prompted Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil to claim that his government, in conjunction with health authorities, would find out “what may or may not have happened” at St. Martha’s. In another token gesture, the Canadian government announced that it would pay the costs of the funeral of Desmond and his family members.

The government is clearly seeking to wash its hands of the situation and cover up the fact that the lack of services at St. Martha is the result of years of austerity measures imposed on public services by successive Liberal, Conservative and NDP provincial governments.

An emergency room doctor who works at the hospital, Dr. Maureen Allen, told CBC how budget cuts had impacted the services provided. Allen said emergency rooms “are inundated” with people struggling with mental health and addiction issues, and that the facility no longer has a dedicated budget for mental health services.

Under both the previous Harper Conservative government and the current Liberal Trudeau government, Veteran Affairs Canada has slashed millions of dollars, translating into hundreds of job cuts, closed offices that previously provided assistance to veterans and cut back on medical marijuana. In power, the Conservatives eliminated lifetime pensions for Afghanistan veterans and clawed back benefits. The number of VA employees shrank 21 percent between 2008 and 2014, resulting in the department’s smallest workforce since 1998.

Many ill and injured ex-soldiers must wait for months to find out if they qualify for benefits. Documents obtained by The Canadian Press show that just over half of the 6,000 veterans who applied for disability benefits between April and July last year received a decision within 16 weeks.

Veteran services have also been targeted for privatization. The most recent job cuts imposed by the Liberals will now force veterans to deal with Medavie Blue Cross, a for-profit private insurance company, for their benefit claims.

According to reports, Desmond received treatment from a joint personnel support unit for a year prior to his release from the military in July 2015. The JPSU, which is meant to provide support to physically and mentally ill soldiers, is severely under-funded.

The horrific event in Upper Big Tracadie is the latest in a string of similar tragedies involving war veterans. According to a Globe and Mail investigation, at least 72 soldiers and veterans have killed themselves after serving on the dangerous Afghanistan mission. The most recent reported case took place in 2015, when Robert Giblin, a veteran of two Afghanistan tours, repeatedly stabbed his wife before they fell from a high-rise apartment in Toronto.

Nearly one in 10 Canadian military personnel who took part in the mission in Afghanistan (about 3,600 out of 39,000) are now collecting disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder. However, experts say the prevalence of the illness is likely much higher among Canada’s combat troops. There are probably many ex-soldiers who have not reached out for benefits, and others who have never been diagnosed.

Calls by the media and politicians for better help for veterans are highly hypocritical. Above all, they seek to obscure the real cause of the Upper Big Tracadie tragedy: Canada’s participation in imperialist carnage in Central Asia and around the globe. In fact, after wiping their crocodile tears, the Canadian ruling class and the media will continue to push for a more aggressive foreign policy.

The Afghan war played a critical role in the reassertion of aggressive Canadian militarism. It marked the definitive end of a period in which, for their own geopolitical interests, the Canadian ruling class presented itself on the global stage as a “peacekeeping” nation.

Military strategists and government advisers celebrated the Afghan intervention, which saw the Canadian Armed Forces assume the leadership role in counter-insurgency operations in Kandahar. In the words of one official, this was a “revolution” in Canadian foreign policy. The ruling class is not about to allow what it views as collateral damage to the lives of veterans and their families to get in the way of the ruthless assertion of its interests.

Desmond’s fate—and the high number of soldiers suffering from PTSD—points to the real character of the Afghan war. Launched in 2001 shortly after September 11 as part of the US-led so-called “war on terror”, the Afghan war has revealed itself as a neocolonial war in which the major powers sought to destabilize and dominate the entire energy resource-rich region.

The Conservatives and the liberals both supported Canada’s participation in the war. For its part, the union-backed New Democratic Party, which made the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan one of its main “progressive” policy planks, made an about-face in the 2008 election campaign when it sought a coalition with the Liberals and pledged to back Canada playing a leading role in the conflict through 2011.

Since then, the Canadian government has joined every military adventure led by the United States. Far from backing down from this war drive, the Trudeau government will soon announce a new deployment of Canadian troops in Africa to join US and French-led counter-insurgency missions and has already sent Canadian forces to Eastern Europe to menace Russia.

SURVIVING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE MILITARY Abused military wives are often told to stay quiet about what happens at home. We talked to a dozen who feel they no longer can. We also asked readers to send us their personal stories. While their experiences occurred over decades, in different locations and across all branches of the military, many of the stories have similar themes. [HuffPost]